However, the surprising highlight was a long day out, ironic of course, to Margate for some fresh sea air at this foul and rotten cadaver of a place. Like so much seaside squalor it needs a bit of a clean up, makeover, rebranding or whatever kind of bollocky marketing terminology is used to hide the fact that it a turd in need of sharp polishing. Queenie was hired for the day before xmas for some fawning, creeping by the end of empire local dignitaries and glad handing of the flag waving plebs which probably set off the Duke's ticker.
Ever at the cutting edge of 1980s transport technology we meandered down on the High Speed train which of course is not high speed until you get back to Ashford and beyond towards civilization.
Despite attempts to make try to redesign it as a kind of New Brighton it still richly deserves its high rankings of the Crap Towns book / website, and mostly very well-deserved too. Yet signs of life do appear with the white and shiny new Turner Centre currently hosting Rodin's The Kiss sculpture and a great exhibition on Youth with lots of references to my own not so wasted youth in the 80s...Class War and The Smiths anyone?
It also has a great cafe and is not far from a nice little pub in the Old Town called The Life Boat, it is cosy, dark, wooden, sawdust on the floor a top selection of alchobooze, no children (always a bonus) or TVs and only lacking a haze of smoke which I guess I will always associate with a proper pub. There is also an odd little 'gallery' with a dozen or so vintage pinball machines including one allegedly played by Roger Daltry in Tommy.
That said wondering around it is still a depressed slum of a place, left to fester by a useless and apparently corrupt council, frequent suspicious fires at the once famous Dreamland amusement park and the appalling social dumping and fellow travelling problems associated with down at heel seaside towns which will undoubtedly get worse as the consequences of the housing benefit cap and bedroom tax kick in. A slow high speed link, shiny new (free) gallery, a couple of decent pubs, and a visit from an ageing celebrity monarch won't bring back the good old days or give it the kind of kudos that Brighton gets...got to start somewhere though.
Fun times over and back to the winter drudge, the season of observations, mostly pointless meetings, reports and generally mellow fruitlessness, looms a few hours away. Ho hum and so on...
Have an amusing and interesting 2012.